Without him there are no locations: The Location Manager | Professions in film

Location Manager Film Professions
Film jobs: the location manager | © chupspace.com

The importance of the location manager is often underestimated. He makes just as big a contribution to the design of a film set and to the smooth running of shooting and film productions as scenery construction or production management. Here you can learn more about this job description.

The Location Manager is responsible for the search of all locations. At the same time, he supervised the selected film locations during the entire shooting process. At the same time he is the superior position for the location scouts and their assistants.

What you need to know

  • The Location Manager is responsible for all locations of a video or film. He and his team organise (search for) these locations according to the briefing of the director and production manager.
  • He also continues to look after the locations during the shooting and supervises the dismantling of the film sets after the end of shooting.
  • He either works in a team with location scouts, or (for smaller productions) also takes over the search for the right locations.
  • The job includes presence in the production office as well as on the film set.

Classification in the hierarchy and organization of a film production

The location manager is subordinate to the production manager and the 1st assistant director.

Nevertheless, he has absolute authority over the locations. In particular, the Location Manager can even block the location in case of dangerous or contractually irresponsible situations and events. Normally, however, an experienced professional will only order this if he cannot discuss this with his superior and there is an immediate need for action.

Classification in the hierarchy and organization of a film production

The Location Manager (short form: LM) is the supervisor of the Location Scouts. For smaller film productions or video productions for commissioned films, it is possible that the function of the Location Scouts includes all tasks, including the organization and coordination from A to Z.

The basis for each film location are firstly the descriptions in the script. Secondly, the briefing that the location manager receives from the director, the assistant director and the production manager.

The production manager usually sets the logistical and financial framework, while the director determines the artistic requirements that a location (also called a motif in the film industry) must meet.

For a successful search for a film location, the location manager often networks with film commissions, associations or authorities.

The Location Report

The specifications that the Location Scouts communicate to their employees also include the form of presentation of the locations sought.

Usually the locations are either photographed or filmed on video. At the same time, a whole range of details must be recorded for the potential motifs. If these are not taken into account from the outset of the search, it may not be possible to use a location later.

The factors that have to be defined and recorded in addition to the actual appearance and accessibility of a motif are in particular

  • Light conditions,
  • Size (not always deducible from the photos or video recordings),
  • costs,
  • availability,
  • accessibility,
  • parking spaces,
  • access to power sources
  • other special features.

All this information is recorded in the location report, together with the visual information. On this basis, the production management and the director choose the subsequent locations. The rule is: the greater the selection, the greater the effort for location scouting.

Work of the location manager after having chosen the locations

In order that the individual professionals can prepare themselves optimally for the shooting, the location cold organizes the motif tours.

This only makes sense if the LM has comprehensive information on all important areas, which are related to the shooting as well as the location.

Conversely, he makes sure that the production manager has all the necessary information about the location. In particular, this includes all costs that arise in the Location Manager’s area of responsibility.

On behalf of the production, the Location Manager negotiates and concludes the rental contracts for the locations. He also ensures that insurance benefits and any ancillary costs are defined therein. Where necessary, the LM also networks with specialists and the legal adviser of the film production company.

Special duties of the Location Manager

The Location Manager (LM) is responsible for all necessary filming and special use permits. He also organizes roadblocks in consultation with the authorities and ensures the necessary safety measures.

All major changes, or possibly even conversions, are discussed and agreed by the Location Manager with the owner of the location. Especially in this case, the job requires not only tact and sensitivity but also a pleasure in negotiations.

Filming

The location manager, together with his assistants and the production office, prepares directions and directions sketches for each new location. Whether GPS coordinates or plan sketches, he is therefore also indirectly responsible for ensuring that every member of the film production team can find the respective location without any problems.

If there is a coordinator for transports, the LM and his team will assign the parking spaces to him.

The location manager is also the contact person for authorities, the police and neighbours during the shooting. He also makes sure, for example in the case of special effects, that the necessary permits are available due to noise or other disturbances.

In feature films, it is customary for the main meal to be provided by the catering company. If unplanned longer working hours occur, the production management can delegate the organisation of snacks to the location manager’s team.

Responsibilities of the location manager after shooting the film

Once a motif has been shot, the location manager organizes and coordinates the dismantling work and the contractually agreed cleaning. The LM also ensures that any repairs after damage are carried out and reported to the insurance company.

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Carlo P. Olsson
About Carlo P. Olsson 62 Articles
Carlo P. Olsson accompanies the production of films, videos and TV series on behalf of companies, agencies and production companies. In his free time he plays ice hockey and is engaged in baroque sound drama.

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